Do You Want a Peaceful Relationship? Yes, You Can Have One!

Do You Want a Peaceful Relationship? Yes, You Can Have One!

PHIL: Maude and I have been together for 16 years; my half-dozen previous relationships lasted no more than three. I described this to Maude on our second date, and she thought to herself that was because I hadn’t met her.

There is a huge amount of truth in this. Read our blogs and books for why. Yet had we met 30 years earlier, we both think it would not have been the same story.

I am of two minds as to how to explain this. I consistently failed to make the transition from the drugged state of being in love to a regular relationship. I thought relationships should have the passion of 1940s black and white Hollywood movies. I wanted brains and beauty without blemishes, and when I did not find that, I left. I lacked commitment, I was told many times. I see now what a great big hole I had in me that no other person could fill, and every separation was immensely painful because my neediness was again fully exposed.

And yet there was a marriage in all this, and a real commitment there, enough to make me move 5,000 miles from one of the great cities of the world and not yearn to go back. The union fell to pieces for a number of reasons, yet it stands in contrast to my other involvements.

I draw several conclusions from this history. A hole like the one that was in me and that I have seen in many other people is corrosive in relationships but can heal with time. For me, I think that time, therapy and zen all helped to make me comfortable with myself. As this self-acceptance developed, I was able to change my focus from what was missing to what was present, and by changing what I looked at, my reality changed, too. It is also likely that the passage of time has quieted the hormones rampaging through my arteries and demanding attention. Lastly, as Maude thought, I hadn’t yet met her. I think that by then, I had reached a point of acceptance, and meeting an equal spirit has allowed the creation of peace on earth.

There are ways to find acceptance, respect and mutual decisions and solutions in your relationship Share on XMAUDE: My story is quite different than Phil’s. I was in three longer relationships before coming together with him: 5 years, 26 years (a marriage) and 12 years. Perhaps I stayed too long by a few years, but in general, these were all committed deep relationships.

My parents’ relationship was a strong influence on my understanding of what it meant to be together. Theirs was a passionate and loving relationship. I still describe how they were as being “madly in love with one another.” There were disagreements but not really arguments. They believed in not holding onto anger, and were intensely committed and loyal to one another and to my brother and me. There was a deep acceptance and a strong trust in each of us.

I sallied forth into the world totally assuming that all people related in this way to one another and that all partnerships were like this. I found out rather quickly that it was in fact quite different. Yet, this belief in how it could be, should be, lingered deep within me and I sought always to bring that energy into all my relations.

I was never comfortable with arguing and fighting with my partners as a way of clearing things up or coming to agreements. Of course, I had my buttons and when pushed enough I would strike back eventually. I remember often trying to explain that each of us was different but that did not have to be a cause for conflict. I wasn’t very good at putting it into words, especially because it seemed most partners had no experience to really understand what I meant, having rarely or never been treated that way.

No matter what happened, I always believed that this strange energy of fighting and arguing and getting angry didn’t come from me. I thought that if I met someone who didn’t bring that kind of energy into the relationship, then it wouldn’t be there. And guess what?! It turns out that’s true. Phil is that person. We have been together 16 years and have never (sorry but really true!) had an argument. We disagree and we work together to find mutual solutions when we do, but there have never been issues that cause feelings of anger, estrangement and separation.

This is not an unattainable goal. It is available to most who desire it in their relationships. There are ways to find acceptance, respect and mutuality of decisions and solutions. We write about them in our blogs and books. If you want to have this kind of being together, you can!

Photo credit: Andy Samarasena, Studio SB

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6 Comments on “Do You Want a Peaceful Relationship? Yes, You Can Have One!

  1. This week I arrived at the conclusion that each day and every encounter is actually determined by what I believe. If I begin the day “believing” in what I can get done , it mostly happens that way. If I bring doubt, ambivalence and hesitation to each situation the day doesn’t go nearly as well. So; how profound to read this column this morning! I have not been partnered for almost 20 years and I can clearly see now that I never really believed that the series of relationships I was involved in for over 35 years had the elements I needed to endure! YES! I do think it is what one brings to each encounter that is the key to how it unfolds! What we each believe is the very essence that allows peaceful process to happen! Bull’s eye on the secret to working together!

  2. Don’t be sorry for your peace, love, and happiness. It is a joy and an inspiration to me as I’m sure it is to all your readers! Loved this blog post!

  3. I’m thankful that Dennis and I have learned to see the ‘place’ in the middle, which is basically an awareness that God wants what’s good for both of us, not just one, so we aim to be fair and try to communicate what we think and feel so it can make sense to the other. We’re still learning… 😉

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